Group Asks Calif. Governor For Special Broadband Bill Session

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High-speed broadband deployment advocacy group Next Century Cities wants the governor to bring the California legislature back for a special session to consider a broadband bill, SB1130.

Under current law, California's broadband deployment plan is that no later than Dec. 31, 2022, the state will approve funding for infrastructure projects "that will provide broadband access to no less than 98% of California households."

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The new law would stretch that timeline by two years, but up the ante on what broadband must be deployed. "[N]o later than Dec. 31, 2024, [the state shall] approve funding for infrastructure projects that will provide high-capacity [25 mbps downstream and 25 mbps upstream], future-proof infrastructure, as defined, based on current engineering and scientific information available at the time of program application, to no less than 98% of California households, with a latency that is sufficiently low to allow real-time interactive applications to unserved areas and unserved high-poverty areas, and provide last-mile infrastructure to unserved areas and unserved high-poverty areas."

Next Century Cities argues that the bill is needed to "ensure that California residents have the requisite connectivity to remain safe and fully recover from the pandemic."

"NCC urges the California Governor to reconvene the legislature to evaluate whether SB1130 could help local governments that are working to meet their communities’ broadband needs," it said in a letter Tuesday (Oct. 6) to California governor Gavin Newsom.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.